NFL continues to deliver huge live audiences

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At a time when some think the NBA is poised to take a piece out of the NFL, it’s as clear as ever that the NBA is many pieces away from getting close to the NFL.

Through five weeks of regular-season action, the NFL is averaging 16.4 million viewers for its broadcasts. That’s a 6 percent jump over last year.

On Thursday night, in a head-to-head matchup with playoff baseball, Giants-Patriots drew 16 million viewers, and Rays-Astros generated 3.67 million. And while football appeared on a three-letter broadcast network with more distribution than whatever cable platform carried baseball, the Patriots were 17-point favorites in the NFL contest, and the Rays and Astros were playing a postseason elimination game.

Besides, Wednesday’s Nationals-Dodgers elimination game aired on FOX, and it had an audience of only 5.86 million.

Then there’s basketball. Despite all the drama of free agency, which results in an annual belief that the ratings are just about to explode and they never do, the 2019 NBA Finals averaged 15.14 million viewers — still less than the average NFL regular-season game to date.

None of this is a knock on the other sports. It’s just a reminder that, as the other sports desperately try to knock the NFL off the top of the TV ratings hill, the NFL isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

13 responses to “NFL continues to deliver huge live audiences

  1. Markets had something to do with that Thursday comparison. New York and Boston for football vs Tampa/St. Pete and Houston for baseball. The local populations involved were just not on the same level.

  2. It’s the flood of new stars, a new generation of QB’s and stars who are hitting their strides. Patrick Mahomes, DeShaun Watson, Baker Mayfield, Goff, even Teddy Bridgewater, Daniel Jones, Jimmy G, and Dak Prescott. People are beginning to see the overall NFL beyond Peyton, Brady, Ben, and Brees and it looks pretty exciting. #NewEra

  3. The NFL is just great entertainment. The NBA really hurts themselves by allowing kids to come out of college so soon. I used to love watching the great players battle it out (Bird vs. Magic) in the tournament and they’d become household names. Since they were household names, you automatically followed them into the NBA because you felt like you knew the kids. They killed the college game too, by allowing all the good players to leave. So now the NBA superstars can barely put a sentence together, so I don’t encourage my kids to watch it. We get to watch the college football players become household names, and that is why the draft has become such a big deal. We feel like we know the kids. It just works. So if the XFL is going to allow kids to leave college sooner, I won’t watch. They’d be hurting the NFL product, which I love. They’d also be doing the kids a disservice. Fantasy Football has helped generate the TV audience too. Most Fantasy players have a guy going in almost every game.

  4. Through five weeks of regular-season action, the NFL is averaging 16.4 million viewers for its broadcasts. That’s a 6 percent jump over last year.
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    And I’d bet that has all come straight from paid attendance, the stands at a whole lot of games are at far less that capacity any game day! Sure there are some teams that sell out every week but there are a lot fewer of them than there were 2-3yrs ago, just look at Was, Ari, LAC, TB, Jax, NYJ, Ten, Det, NYG or Cin and I’ve never seen so many games with tickets available for less than $40 and a few are under $20(tickets for next weeks Jax @ Cin game are as low as $19). The NFL is having a huge attendance problem to the extent that at most games the cameras won’t even show the stands, but the NFL will never admit it! And I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a disparity between the top and bottom teams in all of my 55yrs of watching this sport.

  5. What I don’t get is why are we smack talking about the NBA before their season even opens? This is like the NFL fanbases of certain teams before their season opens.

  6. So when the ratings were down with players taking knees… the narrative was this is just a case of ALL TV ratings being down and not as many people are watchings sports….. Now we have had a couple of quite years and the ratings are back up…. so I guess that argument was just plain wrong. People tuned out because of the politics, now the politics have been minimized and people are back. Spin it however you want but facts are facts

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